Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Las Vegas Desert Dogs picked up its historic win 15-14 in dramatic fashion over the Vancouver Warriors on Friday night at the Michelob Ultra Arena.
The victory is the first for the franchise as they move to 1-4 and it was also the franchise’s first home win.
However, the win didn’t come easy. Vancouver held a 12-4 lead at halftime in what looked like a sure victory for the Warriors.
Whatever head coach Shawn Williams said at the half must have sunk in. The Desert Dogs went on an astonishing 11-2 run in the second half to come from behind for the win.
Watson chased early
Vancouver got out to a quick 4-0 advantage which led to Desert Dogs goaltender Joel Watson being replaced by Landon Kells.
Mitch Jones would open the scoring 1:46 into the game followed by Kyle Killen 4:31 into the game.
Reid Bowering made it 3-0 with 9:56 left on the clock and Shawn Evans would make it score 34 seconds later. That ended Watson’s night only 5:38 into the game. Watson allowed four goals on seven shots.
The goaltending change sparked some life into the Las Vegas squad. Charlie Bertand scored for the Desert Dogs with 8:19 left in the first quarter to make it 4-1.
Vancouver replied right back with a two-goal run with markers from Kyle Killen and Keegan Bal to make it 5-1 for the Warriors.
Bertrand would get Vegas back within four goals with 1:45 left in the first quarter. Bal would capitalize on the power play with 49 seconds left to make it 7-2 after one-quarter of play.
Tempers flare heading into halftime
Killen opened the scoring on the power play for the Warriors 5:23 into the second quarter to extend Vancouver’s lead to 8-2.
Travis Cornwall replied 48 seconds later for Vegas, but Bal found the back of the net 29 seconds after that to make it 9-3.
Vegas tried to stay within striking distance with 5:14 left in the first half with a goal from Jack Hannah. Vancouver rounded out the first-half scoring with a three-goal run. Scoring for the Warriors were Bal, Killen, and Logan Schuss to make it 12-4.
There was no love lost between these two teams battling it out for the basement in the west division. As the buzzer sounded to end the first half, the benches began to tussle as they headed off the floor. The end result was Emerson Clark and Jackson Suboch got fighting and game misconduct penalties for Vegas. Owen Barker was sent off the floor for Vancouver for fighting and game misconduct.
Desert Dogs take over the third
Maybe it was the fight at the end of the half or something was said in the locker room at halftime, but it sparked the Desert Dogs team. They would go on an 8-0 run between the third and fourth quarters.
Bertrand opened the scoring 2:09 into the third quarter to make it 12-5. Hannah scored on the power play with 6:44 left in the quarter to cut Vancouver’s lead in half to 12-6.
Jacob Ruest rounded out the third-quarter scoring with his 100th career goal with 3:43 on the clock to give Vegas all the momentum heading into the final frame.
Vegas gets first win
Las Vegas kept its foot on the gas to finish off this game.
Jon Phillips opened the scoring 1:35 into the final quarter followed by two more goals by Hannah to get the Desert Dogs within two goals.
Zack Greer found the back of the net with 8:21 on the clock to make it 12-11. Reid Reinholdt scored 18 seconds later to tie the game and erased Vancouver’s eight-goal lead.
After going silent for 22:34, the Warriors got back on the board with a power play goal from Adam Charalambides. Greer scored with 5:49 on the clock to start a three-goal run for Vegas.
Rob Hellyer score with 4:16 left to give Vegas its first lead of the game 14-13. He followed that up with 2:33 for the eventual game-winning goal.
The game got even more interesting as Bal scored with 25 seconds left in the game to make it 15-14 in favour of Vegas. However, the Desert Dogs held on the historic win.
Las Vegas Desert Dogs
Rob Hellyer, 2g 7a
Jack Hannah, 4g 3a
Charlie Bertrand, 3g 4a
Keegan Bal, 5g 5a
Mitch Jones, 1g 8a
Shawn Evans, 1g 4a
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Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.